by Madison Palmieri ’22 A&E Co-Editor
First announced in April 2019, Marvel fans have long waited for the premiere of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first original series, WandaVision. The show began filming in November 2019 but was forced to halt production in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming resumed in September 2020, wrapped in November 2020, and premiered exclusively on Disney+ on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021.
The streaming service initially released two episodes of the series, with a new installment premiering every subsequent Friday, and the final episode set to air in early March. Whereas some critics have accused Disney+ and Marvel of only scheduling the series’s release in this weekly manner in order to maximize subscriptions to the streaming service, many fans are appreciating the more traditional episode release schedule in the “binge-watch” era of television.
Regardless of the motive behind this format, it nicely echoes the series’s tribute to bygone eras of television. In the wake of the events of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) find themselves seemingly trapped in the idyllic town of Westview, NJ which, in turn, is seemingly trapped in a world of sitcoms. They come to understand the mysterious nature of their situation as they interact with the quirky characters who populate the town and face challenges related to their superpowers.
Each episode pays homage to a different era of television. For instance, the sets and costumes of episodes one and two represent the 1950s and ’60s; those of episode three contain nods to the 1970s; those of episode five pay homage to the 1980s; and those of episodes six and seven represent the 1990s and 2000s.
The series, however, also ventures outside of Westview. The entirety of episode four is devoted to the work of the S.W.O.R.D. agents tasked with investigating the anomaly to which the town has been subjected. Marvel Cinematic Universe characters such as Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) feature heavily in this installment and other key moments throughout the series.
Such key moments, from surprise guest stars to shocking character reveals, have been much to the delight of dedicated fans. Although the series has yet to air in its entirety, it is already a hit, not in the least because it is the first piece of Marvel Cinematic Universe content released since 2019.
Allison Kohne ’22 explains that “my roommates and I watch WandaVision together each weekend. It’s fun because there’s so many twists, and we think the show is going in one direction before something new is introduced and changes everything. I also think it’s interesting how unique each episode is. The different decades, at least so far, change the tone of each episode.”
While there are only a couple episodes left of WandaVision’s first season for viewers to enjoy and no confirmation as to whether the show will be renewed, fans have much more Marvel content to look forward to in 2021, as WandaVision is only the first of many original series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe set to premiere on Disney+ this year.